Mountain lion tracks CC Georgio
Mountain lion tracks such as these ones have been spotted in the Claremont Canyon Regional Preserve. Photo: Georgio/Creative Commons

Mountain lion tracks have been sighted in the Claremont Canyon Regional Preserve, according to Tom Stienstra, writing in the San Francisco Chronicle.

In his regular outdoors column published on Sunday Jan. 19, Stienstra noted two readers had reported being shocked at seeing the distinctive tracks.

“One of the tracks, reported by Bob Felton, occurred when he was walking his dogs and they became agitated and led him to the paw print,” wrote Stienstra.

Mountain lion tracks

Unlike dog or coyote tracks, those left by mountain lions do not usually show claw marks (see diagram). They are generally round with a diameter from 2.75 to 3.75 inches and show four toes. The tracks are also asymmetrical with a leading toe, which allows left and right tracks to be differentiated.

Mountain lion sightings are not uncommon in the Berkeley and Oakland hills, although those that have occurred in recent years have tended to be in the area of the Berkeley Lab around Strawberry Canyon, or near the Greek Theater north of the Cal campus. In August 2010 a mountain lion made its way down from the hills and wandered through Gourmet Ghetto before it was shot and killed on Walnut Street by the police. Mountain lions, also known as cougars, have not made their presence known in the Claremont Canyon for several years.

Mountain lions tend to hunt for prey such as deer at dawn or dusk so those are the times to be particularly vigilant if out hiking local trails. Read guidelines issued by UCPD on how to prevent encounters with mountain lions and what to do if you do encounter one.

Concerns raised with reports of mountain lion sightings [11.16.12]
Mountain lion closes parts of road, Lab staff shelter in place [10.11.12]
Berkeley Lab on alert after sighting of lion and cubs [08.17.12]
Mountain lion and her cubs spotted in Berkeley hills [07.24.12]
Mountain lion possibly spotted at UC apartments Tuesday [01.12.12]
Mountain lion tours Gourmet Ghetto [8.31.10]

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Tracey Taylor is co-founder of Berkeleyside and co-founder and editorial director of Cityside, the nonprofit parent to Berkeleyside and The Oaklandside. Before launching Berkeleyside, Tracey wrote for...